Going to the dentist is one of the biggest fears that we have! Indeed, some 36 percent of the population have this affliction and for some 12 percent it is quite extreme.
Are these fears unfounded? Let us dig a little deeper. Phobias, such as fear of going to the dentist, are based on fears of the unknown, possible embarrassment, past negative experiences, previous family history, fear of pain, fear of side effects and generally situations where you have little or no control. Just the sound of the drill can trigger anxiety!
The long and short of it is that we all have to go to the dentist or perhaps suffer even worse consequences should we choose not to attend! If you leave it until you absolutely have to go, it can only make things worse. Put another way – oral health is regarded as one of the most important areas of healthcare.
So, what can we do in order to overcome these fears?
First of all, get yourself in the right frame of mind. Relaxation and breathing techniques can help. Perhaps a little soothing music – take an MP£ player with you to act as a distraction and block out the noises of the drill or other noises that may make you a little anxious.
Most importantly, do speak to your dentist and / or your dental nurse and explain your fears. Your dentist is used to hearing all of the fears that you have (and many more!) and will be able to re-assure you on any issues that you may have.
What you can do is to have a pre-arranged signal, agreed with your dentist. For example – if you raise your hand, that could be an indication to the dentist to halt proceedings.
One of the bigger issues that is frequently raised is about sedation dentistry. In other words – putting the patient under an anaesthetic in order to carry out the required procedure. This comes with advantages and disadvantages! The fear associated with this is that it may not work; the patient may wake up during the operation or feel pain.
What you must remember is that dental medicine has vastly improved over the past decade; dental sedation is safe and effective. It is useful to enable a multiple number of procedures to be carried out at one visit, so if you do have a number of problems, and are little anxious, then it could be possible to get them all sorted in one go. The dentist, of course, will take great care to put you at ease by carefully explaining exactly what is being done; in deciding the form of sedation, they will take into account your medical history and any current medication which you are taking. Your safety is their top priority and if they are in any doubt about administering the procedure, they will not do it. If you are unsure of any aspect or should you still have concerns or fears, do be sure to raise these with your dentist and seek their re-assurance.